RELATIONS WITH THE EU
The European Union and the Republic of Vanuatu
The Republic of Vanuatu is a Melanesian Pacific island nation. The relationship between the European Union and Vanuatu is governed by the EU-ACP Cotonou Partnership Agreement, which will soon be replaced by a successor Agreement.
Vanuatu and the EU work together on a number of common values, interests and challenges, such as climate change, oceans and human rights, which they address in bilateral Political Dialogues, as well as at various ACP-EU policy dialogues and global multilateral levels.
Political Relations Between the European Union and the Republic of Vanuatu
Vanuatu consists of a chain of 13 principal islands and a population of 300,000.
Vanuatu participates in policy dialogues within the ACP-EU institutions from senior officials to parliamentary and ministerial levels. The EU also cooperates closely with Vanuatu to ensure our shared commitment to universal values and human rights principles are upheld at the international level. The EU and Vanuatu hold High-Level Political Dialogues to address common interests and challenges, such as climate change, oceans, human rights, development cooperation, economic and trade cooperation. The last Political Dialogue took place in a virtual format in April 2021.
Vanuatu and the EU are engaged in the Pacific region through the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and Pacific Community (SPC). The Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) coordinates the ACP-EU policy dialogues.
Vanuatu has been supported by the EU and its Member States through the Team Europe response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Trade and Economic Relations
Trade and Economic Relations between the EU and Vanuatu
Vanuatu is a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), categorised as Lower Middle-Income Country.
Vanuatu's economy has in the last decades shifted gradually from the primary sector to services. The latter now accounts for about 70% of GDP (with tourism playing a dominant role), whilst primary sectors jointly contribute to around 22% of GDP (subsistence agriculture provides a living for 70% of the population, but contributes only 19% of the GDP). The industry sector represents about 10% of GDP, mainly driven by construction. Agri-business processing has a high potential.
The primary sector provides employment to about 63% of the population, followed by services (29%) and industry (7%).
Vanuatu's graduation from Least Developed Country status in December 2020 implies that it will be losing its duty-free quota-free access to the EU market under the ‘Everything But Arms (EBA)’ preferences at the end of the transition period, in 2023. To be able to continue to export all its products to the EU market free of tariffs and quotas, Vanuatu may accede to the EU-Pacific Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). Otherwise, it will trade with the EU under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP).
The European Union’s Development Cooperation with Vanuatu
Between 2014-2020, the European Union has supported a wide range of cooperation projects that aimed aim at contributing to poverty reduction and improved livelihoods through equitable and broad-based sustainable economic growth of the rural economy.